Reflective Bible Study.
Focus Passage: John 20:19-23 (GNT)During one of the times Jesus spent with His disciples between the resurrection and His return to heaven, He shares a fascinating idea that I don’t hear many Christians talk about outside of the Catholic portion of Christianity. In verse 23, we read the following promise, “If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” What a strange responsibility for Jesus to give His disciples. In prior encounters with the religious leaders, Jesus lays claim to the ability to forgive sins – which is something that only God is capable of doing. Now Jesus is taking a responsibility that is God’s and seemingly handing it over to the disciples. This seems very strange, though it does give some support for the catholic idea of confessional booths. What really makes this idea seem bad in my mind is because it appears to place someone between us and God. When anything comes between us and God, that person, place, or thing seems like it could easily become a barrier between us and God – and Jesus didn’t really seem to approve of things (people, systems, or traditions) getting in the way of sinners being able to return to God. However, what if this responsibility is not meant to be a barrier between us and God after all? What if instead this is a way for us to be able to encourage others by confirming that they really are forgiven? Peter asked Jesus how often should we forgive one another, and Jesus’ answer was basically 7,000% greater than the most generous number Peter could think of at the time. This tells me that forgiveness is not ever meant to be a barrier between us and God. A “Christian” who is unforgiving calls their “Christianity” into question. If Christians are to be forgiving people, then they adequately represent Christ, who forgave our sins and took our penalty upon Himself. Taking Jesus’ promise and the responsibility He has shared with us, we are able to spread confidence, and encouragement to those in need around us who may be caught in the belief that their horrendous past could never be forgiven. As a follower and disciple of Jesus, I can honestly and confidently assure people who I meet that their sins are forgiven, and they can come move forward in life. I don’t say this to “overstep” my role as a follower of Jesus, but to claim the promise and responsibility He has given each of His followers. As followers of Jesus, we can “forgive sins” as a way to encourage and serve those who may be scared of coming to God themselves. Forgiveness of sins is not meant to be a barrier between us and God, because God has taken the punishment for our sins upon Himself. Jesus died for you and for me! This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today! Read this article on the web on it's official page: Christians Forgiving Sins: John 20:19-23